|Publication number||US6909985 B2|
|Application number||US 10/305,171|
|Publication date||Jun 21, 2005|
|Filing date||Nov 27, 2002|
|Priority date||Nov 27, 2002|
|Also published as||EP1565756A1, EP1565756A4, US20040102918, WO2004051284A1|
|Publication number||10305171, 305171, US 6909985 B2, US 6909985B2, US-B2-6909985, US6909985 B2, US6909985B2|
|Inventors||James M. Stana|
|Original Assignee||Lockheed Martin Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (17), Referenced by (9), Classifications (33), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates in general to the field of electronic instrumentation, such as accelerometers.
2. Background Information
Dynamic events of engineering interest include vibration, acceleration, energy dissipation and so forth. For example, dynamic events are associated with the structure of an object in motion subjected to an external force. Dynamic events can be short term in nature, as with energy dissipation within the frame and body of a vehicle involved in a crash test, or in the wing of an aircraft or missile during a particular maneuver.
Capturing dynamic events using equipment such as accelerometers, allocated signal conditioners, amplifiers and recorders, involves modifying the structure of interest to accommodate the equipment. For example, wires can be run between the various components, and power supplied. These modifications can impact the function and operation of the structure of interest. For example, the amount of equipment placed in the device can impact the operation of the equipment due to its location. The installation and removal of the equipment can be time consuming and labor intensive. The instrumentation weight can impact the host structure and subsequent performance during high-G maneuvers.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,745,564 (Tennes) describes a device containing an accelerometer, power supply and memory packaged as produced to measure the acceleration histories of commodities when they are being handled or transported. The device monitors three different coordinate axes, and records accelerations which exceed a limit by the greatest magnitude, and their time of the occurrence.
U.S. Pat. No. Re. 36,200 (Berrian) describes a device for monitoring an externally applied parameter to a selected products. The device includes a housing enclosing a sensor, a monitoring and output network. The monitoring and output network is an integrated circuit, a memory device and an arrangement of LEDs.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,446,659 (Yamawaki) describes a device for recording traffic accident data using an acceleration sensor, angular velocity sensor, memory and a control section. For example, the device records the acceleration and angular velocity of an automobile for a time interval after the detection of an acceleration which exceeds angular velocity threshold.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,610,337 (Nelson) describes measuring the amplitude and frequency of an acceleration using a digital accelerometer manufactured from arrays of micro-mechanical sensing elements designed to detect acceleration in a particular rotational or transitional direction. The sensing elements have size and mass parameters that can be adjusted to vary their frequency response and sensitivity to amplitude of acceleration.
Exemplary embodiments of the present invention are directed to an apparatus for recording changes associated with acceleration of a structure, comprising an accelerometer array having at least one silicon beam type accelerometer, a nonvolatile memory, a clock timer, and a programmable control unit operatively coupled to the accelerometer array, non-volatile memory, and clock timer, where the accelerometer array, the non-volatile memory, the clock timer and the programmable control unit are formed on a common semiconductor substrate with the accelerometer array disposed in a central region of the substrate.
Exemplary embodiments are also directed to an apparatus for recording changes associated with acceleration of a structure comprising means for sensing acceleration; means for storing data; means for measuring temporal data associated with acceleration data; and means operatively coupled to the sensing means, storing means and measuring means for triggering the storing means to record acceleration data and temporal data in response to a predetermined event, wherein the sensing means, storing means and measuring mens are formed on a common semiconductor substrate with the sensing means disposed in a central region.
The present invention also relates to exemplary methods for recording changes associated with the acceleration of a structure using at least one accelerometer, non-volatile memory, clock timer, and programmable control unit integrated on a common substrate, the method comprising: detecting a predetermined event; monitoring temporal data from the clock timer correlated with the acceleration data; and triggering the non-volatile memory with the programmable control unit to record in the non-volatile memory acceleration data from the accelerometer and the temporal data.
Other advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following detailed description of example embodiments, in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals have been used to designate like elements, and wherein:
In the exemplary embodiments described herein, components that are operatively coupled interact either electrically, mechanically, optically or through some other type of physical coupling. The PADL system 100 includes means for sensing acceleration, represented as at least one silicon accelerometer. The accelerometer is illustrated as a silicon accelerometer array for sensing and measuring an acceleration event 102. The PADL system also includes means for storing data, represented as any non-volatile memory 106 including, but not limited to volatile memories with even short term battery back-ups. A means for measuring temporal data associated with acceleration data is represented as a clock timer 108.
A triggering means is represented as any computer and/or processing device. In
As shown in
The PADL apparatus, being self contained and formed on a common substrate, allows for a physically small package. For example, the PADL can be formed 1-2 centimeters in diameter (or smaller or larger), and can weigh a few ounces (or less or more), although any size and weight can be accommodated. A smaller size can provide enhanced flexibility in the attachment and implementation of the PADL system. The PADL can be fastened to a structure of interest by an attachment means, such as peel and stick adhesive, glue or other fastener. The sensor package can be oriented along one or more axis of interest and records the acceleration forces acting on the structure of interest along the axis of interest. By placing the accelerometer array in the center region of the sensor package, effects of noise, a product of secondary motion, acceleration and vibration, or flex of the substrate itself, can be minimized. This can improve the sensor package's ability to accurately measure and record the acceleration of the structure of interest.
In response to a predetermined event, the programmable control unit 104, triggers the non-volatile memory 106, coupled to the clock timer 108 and accelerometer array 102, to record the temporal data from clock timer 108 and acceleration data from the accelerometer 102 in the non-volatile memory 106. The predetermined event can be the detection of a predetermined level or duration of acceleration in one or more axis, the reception of an electronic signal from a device or program within the PADL, from a remote device, or at a predetermined time.
The PADL apparatus 100 has been described to include at least one silicon accelerometer 102 for sensing and measuring an acceleration event. However, in an alternate exemplary embodiment, the PADL device 100 can employ an array of any number of silicon accelerometers.
For example, accelerometer 202′ can be configured so that its acceleration threshold along axis 210 is 1G. Upon detection of an acceleration event surpassing +/−1G along axis 210 accelerometer 202′ provides a signal denoting a +/−1G acceleration measurement. Similarly, accelerometer 202″ can be configured so that its acceleration threshold along axis 210 is 1G greater in magnitude than that of accelerometer 202′ (e.g., +/−2G). Accelerometer 202′″, can be configured to an acceleration threshold of +/−3G, and so forth. Of course, any desired characteristics can be selected for each of the accelerometers in the array, and the threshold spacings between accelerometers can be varied. For example, 1G spacing can be used between the first two accelerometers and 1.5G spacing can be used between the next two adjacent accelerometers.
In an exemplary operation, upon the structure being subjected to a 2G acceleration event along axis 210, a 2G acceleration would be at or beyond the threshold of accelerometers 202″ and 202′″ in array 102. Thus accelerometers 202″ and 202′″ would trigger, while accelerometer 202′, having a 3G threshold, would remain inactive. By monitoring the particular accelerometers in the array which are affected by an acceleration event, very accurate acceleration measurements can be obtained. While this example uses 3 accelerometers with 1G spacing, arrays featuring large numbers of silicon beam type accelerometers 202 can be used. These accelerometers can have thresholds spaced at less than or greater than 1G. Each silicon beam type accelerometer in an array can be assigned a particular bit value. As each accelerometer generates a signal, information associated with this signal (e.g., a 1 bit representation that a particular accelerometer was triggered) can be recorded in a non-volatile memory.
Through the use of a plurality of silicon accelerometers disposed along a predetermined axis 210, with each accelerometer 202 configured to indicate an acceleration level at a predetermined amount above the previous accelerometer along the same predetermined axis 210, PADL can accurately measure and record high acceleration readings along an axis of interest with high reliability. For example, peak values about a particular level, or acceleration events at specified time intervals can be captured and memory, and optionally displayed in any desired format.
The PADL system is not limited to sensing and measuring acceleration data along a single axis. By using arrays disposed to sense and measure acceleration data along a plurality of axis, a single PADL device can monitor several axis of acceleration. In an exemplary embodiment, data for each axis of acceleration can be recorded in a separate non-volatile memory.
In another exemplary embodiment, the accelerometer array 102 can comprise a plurality of accelerometers represented as groups of accelerometers 102, 102′. Each group of accelerometers can be configured to detect and measure acceleration along a particular axis of acceleration of any desired orientation. Each group of accelerometers can be operatively coupled to a non-volatile memory 106, 106′ through the control unit 104, wherein upon the detection of a predetermined event, acceleration data for each particular axis of acceleration along each of the plurality of predetermined axis can be recorded in a non-volatile memory 106, 106′.
For example, the threshold for accelerometer 302′ can differ from the threshold of accelerometer 302″ by a magnitude of +/−1G, which can differ from the threshold of accelerometer 302′″ by +/−1G and so forth.
The use of plural of silicon accelerometers disposed along two predetermined axes 210, 310 with each accelerometer configured to indicate an acceleration level at a predetermined amount different from the previous accelerometer along the same predetermined axis allows the PADL to measure and record very high acceleration readings along two or more axes of interest with great precision. Of course, any number of silicon beam type accelerometer arrays can be employed along any number of axes.
Aircraft 400, can have multiple PADL devices affixed to particular structure of interest on the aircraft. In the illustrated example, a PADL device 100′ is attached to the aircraft wing and a second PADL device 100″ is contained within the aircraft's fuselage. Each is disposed to monitor and record acceleration forces acting on the structure to which it is attached along one or more predetermined axes. Each PADL package 100 can be a self-contained unit including its own battery power supply or in the alternative the PADL can receive power from the aircraft's power systems.
An exemplary method can be implemented under control of the control unit 104 programmed to perform operations as illustrated in the exemplary
Referring again to
The programmable control unit 104 allows the PADL system flexibility in operation and implementation. A user can choose the predetermined event which causes the programmable control unit to trigger the data collection and the type of data collected. In an exemplary embodiment the PADL system operates in a data collection mode in which the programmable control unit monitors the accelerometer and triggers the non-volatile memory and clock timer, recording time and acceleration data in the non-volatile memory upon the detection of a predetermined acceleration level along one or more axes. For example, the acceleration data can be measured at fixed and/or variable intervals and/or can be continuously measured. The acceleration data can be compared to one or more thresholds, and upon satisfying the threshold(s) (e.g., exceeding or falling below the threshold), the acceleration data and/or associated time data can be recorded.
Programmable control unit 104 can optionally be configured to include means for externally triggering the at least one accelerometer 102. For example, a pair of external pins for an external trigger such as a switch or a wireless link can be used, or any other trigger control. Thus, the predetermined event can be the programmable control unit receiving a signal from an external source.
The control unit 104 can also include means for linking with an external device to receive programming data or to download recorded data to the external device. As such the programmable control unit 104 can permit the PADL system to operate in various programmable modes of data collection (e.g., test mode and/or normal operation mode).
Upon completion of a test cycle, each PADL device can be coupled to an external device, such as a personal computer, and the collected acceleration and temporal data can be downloaded to the computer. New programming parameters can be uploaded to the programmable control unit from the computer. Another embodiment allows the PADL to receive new programming parameters from an external device in a dynamic environment.
Thus, the PADL can operate in a data collection mode in which the programmable control unit 104 monitors the accelerometer 102 and triggers the non-volatile memory 106 and clock timer 108, recording time and acceleration data in the non-volatile memory upon the detection of an acceleration event satisfying (e.g., exceeding) a predetermined acceleration level (e.g., threshold along one or more axes) and/or with a predetermined time interval.
The PADL can alternately, or in addition, operate in a data collection mode in which the programmable control unit 104 monitors the accelerometer 102 and triggers the non-volatile memory 106 and clock timer 108, recording time and acceleration data in the non-volatile memory at a predetermined time delay after the detection of an acceleration event at or exceeding a predetermined acceleration level along one or more axes as discussed previously.
The PADL can also operate in a continuous data collection mode. In this mode the programmable control unit, accelerometers, non-volatile memory, and clock timer, operate in a continuous collection mode, the non-volatile memory overwriting previously collected data wherein the device can retain the time and acceleration data regarding (e.g., surrounding, within a predetermined interval) a predetermined event.
Alternately, or in addition, the PADL can operate in a data collection mode in which the programmable control unit monitors the clock timer and triggers the non-volatile memory, recording time and acceleration data along one or more axes of acceleration in the non-volatile memory at a predetermined time.
In a peak data collection mode, the programmable control unit, accelerometers, non-volatile memory, and clock timer, can operate in a continuous collection mode, the non-volatile memory retaining only certain peak acceleration and associated temporal data regarding at least one of a predetermined event and/or time periods.
In yet another example embodiment, the PADL can include a data collection mode in which the programmable control unit monitors the clock timer and triggers the non-volatile memory, recording time and acceleration data along one or more axes of acceleration in the non-volatile memory, at an adjustable rate.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the present invention can be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The presently disclosed embodiments are therefore considered in all respects to be illustrative and not restricted. The scope of the invention is indicated by the appended claims rather than the foregoing description and all changes that come within the meaning and range and equivalence thereof are intended to be embraced therein.
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|U.S. Classification||702/141, 340/539.19, 607/19, 600/507, 340/904|
|International Classification||G01P15/00, G06F15/00, G01P15/18, G01P1/12, G01P15/08, G01L5/00, G01M17/007, G01P1/14, G01P1/16, G07C5/08|
|Cooperative Classification||G01L5/0052, G01P1/14, G01P1/127, G01P1/16, G01M99/004, G07C5/085, G01P15/0891, G01P15/18, G01M17/0078|
|European Classification||G01M99/00C, G01P15/08L, G07C5/08R2, G01P15/18, G01M17/007C, G01P1/16, G01P1/12C, G01P1/14, G01L5/00H|
|Nov 27, 2002||AS||Assignment|
|Sep 13, 2005||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Dec 22, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 2, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8